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Tips on Email etiquette and Admissions Interviews 2021

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Tips on Email etiquette and Admissions Interviews 2021

  1. 1. EducationUSA can help you every step along the way. 5 Steps to U.S. Study 1.Research Your Options 2.Finance Your Studies 3.Complete Your Application 4.Apply for Your Student Visa 5.Prepare for Your Departure
  2. 2. E-mail Etiquette for U.S. Admissions
  3. 3. You Will Be Sending Many, Many E-mails • 1-2 “Dream/Reach” Schools (25% or less) • 2-3 “Mid-Range” Schools (25-70%) • 1-2 “Plan B” Options (70+% or local) _________________ 5-10 colleges and universities You want to be excited about the colleges and universities on your list. Do your best on every essay.
  4. 4. Why E-mail? • Get the answers you cannot find. • Get clarification on important matters when deciding if you will apply, such as: available funding and eligibility, application requirements, special programs such as Honors College and Sports Scholarships, etc. • Get known by the admissions officer. Provide them with information that will help you stand out. Make a good impression. They expect and appreciate e-mails from international students, in particular. • Ensure your application package is correct and all test scores, letters of recommendation and transcripts were received by the deadline. • Thank them.
  5. 5. Exercise #1: What do you think? Dear mr. smith. Hello from egypt! My name ahmed and i am a senior at business college. I wanted to let you know that I am really interested in tulane and it is defiantly a school i will be applying to in an the early action round. i have allways thought that I am interested in psychology and I am glad to see you all have a strong program for that; Please let me know when I can apply. thanks, ahmed
  6. 6. Exercise #1: What do you think? Dear Mr. Smith, Hello from Egypt! My name Ahmed and I i am a senior at Business College. NAME it! I wanted to let you know Arabic that I am really interested in Tulane and it is defiantly definitely a school i I will be applying to in an the early action round. i I have always allways thought (weak) that I am interested in psychology and I am glad to see you all have a strong program for that; Please let me know when I can apply. (Generic) Thanks, Ahmed
  7. 7. PROFESSIONALISM Have an academic or professional e-mail account. Use a clear and mature Subject Line. Use formal English to the best of your ability. This is not a SMS or WhatsApp.
  8. 8. SALUTATION Use the person's name and accurate title, not "Dear University" or a general term. Also include a personal note if you have spoken to them before, showing your personality, a short greeting in Arabic with translation, wishing them a great week, or thanking them for their support.
  9. 9. INTRODUCTION The first paragraph should include your name, where you are writing from, your nationality, your educational status and intended program of study, and any memorable elements. This is not a full biography, just a couple points. For example: My name is Ahmed Hussein and I am an Egyptian student in my junior year of high school here in Cairo. I am excited to say I will be the first person from my village to study in the United States. After doing some research at the EducationUSA center in Cairo, I have discovered that Minot State University is a great fit and I intend to apply for Fall 2016 with a Music Business major and a minor in Peace Studies.
  10. 10. WHY ARE YOU WRITING? Tell the person how many questions you have or the purpose of this specific e-mail. How soon do you need a response?
  11. 11. WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU WANT? • Tell them 2-5 important things or ask 2-5 well thought-out questions, not anything obvious on the websites and materials. • Ask things particular to your case, things you must know before completing your application. • Demonstrate that you have already started the work. • Organize your points in a numbered or bulleted format.
  12. 12. KEEP IT BRIEF Keep it concise and mature, but with energy. The entire e-mail should fit in one window and not require scrolling. You want them to be in a position to answer right away.
  13. 13. LET THEM SEE YOU Maybe include a small, clear picture of you at your school, volunteering, or in your hometown. This is not a requirement. But it could be nice to see one picture where you are alone/featured and seem like a great fit for their university. Not a selfie or something silly. Only do this in your first message.
  14. 14. BE NICE “The vast majority of applicants are perfectly nice in their communication, but I’ve had a few experiences with applicants who are curt, demanding, or rude in their emails, or applicants who fail to demonstrate any sort of command of the English language, and I don’t hesitate to include that in my report. This is especially true if you are contacting someone at the last minute and asking to be quickly accommodated.” – MIT Admissions Officer
  15. 15. ATTACHMENTS Attach your CV or any documents relevant to this message. Do not send your full application. Avoid unnecessarily large file sizes. Be careful if you send an attachment to someone you don't know the first time you contact them. They (or their computers) might think it is spam or a virus, and delete your message. What sorts of information shouldn't be sent via email? • Usernames and Passwords • Credit Card and other Account information • Forwarded e-mails with privately shared information
  16. 16. STOP and… Proofread and say it out loud to yourself before hitting ‘send.’
  17. 17. PATIENCE Be patient. But if you do not receive a reply in two weeks, send a friendly reminder. Do not send the exact e-mail twice. Consider (weekends,/ holidays,…)
  18. 18. Every little piece counts. And every university is different. The “Application Package” for the U.S. • Application Fee and Form – Your answers to questions and lists. • Statement of Purpose and other Essays • 2-3 Recommendation Letters • Official Academic Records/Transcripts • Exams (SAT/ACT, GRE, GMAT) Scores sent from testing agency. • TOEFL iBT (or IELTS) Results sent from testing agency. • Writing Samples, Research Papers, Portfolio, Other • Curriculum Vitae or Resume • Financial Aid Form and Documents as Proof • Interview
  19. 19. Exercise #2: Which e-mail would you open? A. Biology student want to study B. Two Admissions Questions from a Prospective Graduate Film Student from Egypt C. Engineering is my life and I will succeed D. Egyptian student wanting information on scholarships at your university
  20. 20. Exercise #2: Which e-mail would you open? A. Biology student want to study B. Two Admissions Questions from a Prospective Graduate Film Student from Egypt C. Engineering is my life and I will succeed D. Egyptian student wanting information on scholarships at your university
  21. 21. Tips for Interviewing
  22. 22. The Benefits of the Interview Few colleges and universities require an interview, but many offer them as an option. They are recommended because they... • Display that a student has a strong interest in the college. • Let the interviewer get to know the personality and voice behind the grades and test scores. • Serve as a chance for borderline students to present themselves as winning candidates by virtue of sincerity or their personality. • Provide an opportunity for a student to explain any extenuating circumstances that have affected academic performance and describe the ways (s)he will contribute to the college.
  23. 23. There are Two Kinds of Interviews Assessing if the student is a good fit. Admissions Officer makes official notes to add to your file. Evaluative To give the student more information. Alumni or faculty might pass on their opinion of you. Informational Interviews of either kind can take place on or off campus (for example, the college may match up applicants with alumni interviewers who live in the same area).
  24. 24. Interview Tips
  25. 25. Weak interviews make claims -- and that’s it. Well-done interviews include evidence and demonstrate why or how you did things. Show them, don’t tell them
  26. 26. How could you prove the following? I am a persistent person. I am a risk-taker. I make bold choices. People know me for my generosity. I am a hard worker.
  27. 27. Before an Admissions Interview  Do not wait until the last minute to request an interview.  Mark the date and time on your calendar.  Research the college by checking out its website, brochure, press releases, and course catalog. Get to know the faculty, talk to alumni, research clubs and services, and get your name out there.  Make notes about why you want to attend this college/university.  Make notes about your academic background, scores, goals, personal essay, activities and experiences.  Get directions to the interview or dial-in instructions.  Choose appropriate clothes to wear for the interview.  Get familiar with common interview questions and do some practice interviews with a friend or family member.
  28. 28. During an Admissions Interview  Dress nicely – but not too nicely.  Try not to be too nervous – but they understand if you are.  Good morning: healthy breakfast, water, yoga/prayer/jog.  Arrive or log-on early.  Carry yourself in a professional manner.  Project confidence and enthusiasm. Be optimistic.  Show sincerity and commitment.  Maintain a strong posture – no slouching, nervous fidgeting.  Smile and be yourself, showing respect and courtesy to everyone.  Have a strong handshake (if it is in-person).  Open your mouth and use clear pronunciation.
  29. 29. Stages of an Interview 1. Introductions and Breaking the Ice 2. General Information Sharing 3. Further Probing of Key Characteristics 4. Solicit Questions 5. Closing
  30. 30. Answering Questions  Have a conversation. There is no “right” answer.  Show them, don’t tell them.  Follow the interviewer’s lead in both your tone and in the timing of introductions and conclusions. Never try to cut off the interview.  Listen to the entire question asked by the interviewer. Do not start your response until the interviewer has finished speaking.  Replay: Once (s)he has finished asking a question, replay it in your mind so you make certain you completely answer what was asked.  Decide: Think about your response prior to answering. This will only take a second and will help you formulate an effective response.  Close each answer.  If you start to ramble and realize you are off on a tangent, that’s ok – pause for a minute, smile, and start again.
  31. 31. Do not get too personal about religion, politics, or your lack of education. Everyone gets one God, no more.
  32. 32. Use technical terminology where appropriate. Speak clearly and interestingly, yet also use a voice appropriate to your age and field.
  33. 33. 80/20 RULE for negative questions
  34. 34. Transitions are like bridges that connect your answers, stories, examples and ideas.
  35. 35. Areas of Questioning • Personal Characteristics / Skills / Strengths • Academic experience and performance • Extracurricular Activities / Work experience • Weaknesses • Goals • Leadership/Teamwork/Problem-solving • Field-Specific Questions and Current Events
  36. 36. After an Interview  Make notes about the interview.  File away any contact information that the interviewer and other admission staff offered.  Send a thank-you note to the interviewer. Thank the person for his or her time and refer to something specific you discussed.
  37. 37. RESOURCES Undergraduate Interviews Graduate Interviews E-mail Etiquette
  38. 38. RESOURCES
  39. 39. Check our Website!
  40. 40. Our Facebook Community EducationUSA Egypt
  41. 41. Our Slideshare Account EducationUSAEgypt
  42. 42. Thank you and Good Luck! 19263
  43. 43. Q&A Ask your questions about Interviews and e-mail etiquette.

Editor's Notes

  • Lena notes, 2017:
    When your goal is to get the attention of someone in order to gain or provide information, paying attention to your method of communication through email will help you. Also, remember to always thank the person for their help!
    How to prepare a professional e-mail:

    1) Begin with an informative subject line, such as “Meeting request” or “Course registration question”. This lets the reader know what your question will be about, and it will also be easily searchable for both of you in the future.

    2) Plan the structure of your email. Like any writing assignment - when you communicate through email to find or give information - the way you write represents you.

    3) Be clear, brief, check your spelling and grammar, avoid exclamation points, smiley faces or emoticons, and extra capitalizations when possible.

    4) Remember that a professional email is different than informal and social online networking and chatting.

    5) Always include your full name (or make sure your email address is your name), share what program or degree you’re interested in, as well as contact information in the body of your email.

    6) When you are responding to an email, include the original message in your response to give the reader the context of your inquiry.

    7) Keep your personal e-mail address simple to identify yourself on a professional rather than personal level. Avoid unprofessional address names like or A good e-mail address would include a combination of your first and last name

    8) End your e-mail with a simple and brief closing such as “Regards”, “Thank you”, “Best Wishes”, “See you tomorrow”, or “Sincerely” and “Respectfully” in more formal email.
  • Most people do not realize that email is not as private as it may seem. Without additional setup, email is not encrypted; meaning that your email is "open" and could possibly be read by an unintended person as it is transmitted to your reader. With that in mind, never send the following information over email:
    Usernames and passwords
    Credit card or other account information
    Additionally, avoid sensitive or information that could be potentially damaging to someone's career and/or reputation, including your own. Beyond email's general lack of security and confidentiality, your recipient can always accidentally hit the Forward button, leave her email account open on a computer, or print and forget that she's printed a copy of your email.
  • Some institutions do not offer interviews at all. These include some public universities whose applicant pools are so large that offering interviews to all candidates is not feasible, and also some private colleges.
  • The evaluative interview is intended to help the institution assess the student as a candidate. The interviewer speaks with the student, takes notes and reports all impressions to the admission committee. This evaluation becomes part of the student's application file. Interviewers are often admission officers but may be faculty members or alumni.

    The informational interview is intended to give the student information about the institution. This can be a one-on-one talk with a college representative or a group information session for applicants. Interviewers may be admission officers but might also be faculty members, alumni or even current students at the college. Although the informational interview's main purpose is to answer student questions about the college, it is quite possible that the college representative will also evaluate the student and pass an opinion on to the admission committee. Students should therefore always be aware of the impression they are making.
  • Weak essays leave the reader unfulfilled because they neglect the evidence needed to substantiate those claims.
  • Weak essays leave the reader unfulfilled because they neglect the evidence needed to substantiate those claims.
  • They know that the college application season is a stressful and busy time for applicants and that sometimes it can be hard to find a convenient time and place for your interview which is why the admissions office has deadlines for requesting your interview. There is always a small rush of requests right before (or right after) the deadline. It’s in your best interest not to be part of that rush. If circumstances lead you to a last-minute request for an interview, try to be especially flexible in your availability, as your interviewer also has to scramble to accommodate you and have time to write your report before the application deadline.

  • ECs know that the students we interview are real kids, and that is what we expect. I’ve interviewed students in three-piece suits with their hair slicked back and a briefcase under their arm – they look sharp, but overdressed. This is not an interview for a Wall Street bank. I’ve also interviewed students who look like they have just rolled out of bed after a night of too much fun. If you shouldn’t wear it to the grocery store, you shouldn’t wear it to your college interview. It’s perfectly ok to wear the same clothes you wore to school that day, whether that is a uniform with a blazer, your team jersey and sneakers, or jeans and a non-offensive t-shirt.
  • There is a logical order of events in an interview, and knowing the order in which things typically happen can help you know what to anticipate.
    Introductions and Breaking the Ice: Always shake hands (with a firm handshake) and introduce yourself. Relax! Most likely the opening of the interview will include small talk. Be friendly and responsive. Try to notice your surroundings and anything that might identify the interviewer as an individual. Feel free to initiate a discussion of some very general topic of conversation such as weather, travel, or comment on an object in the office. The interviewer will likely review the interviewing agenda with you.
    General Information Sharing: Your resume is an outline of your experiences. This part of the interview is your opportunity to provide details and fill in any gaps. You will be asked questions about your education and training, your work experience, and the skills that you possess. It is essential that you have a good idea of the aspects about yourself that you want to stress. Under no circumstances should you try to fool an interviewer with a stretched truth -- you don't know how much they already know about you!!
    Further Probing of Key Characteristics: The spot for which you are interviewing has certain key characteristics and requirements. The interviewer is looking for a candidate who understands what these are and who can relate past experiences and skills to the position requirements. If you have thoroughly reviewed the position description, you will know what questions to anticipate. The interviewer will be trying to gain a clearer understanding of your style and your potential for blending with the company/organization.
    Solicit Questions: Although it may feel like an interrogation at times, an interview is a two way process in which both interviewer and interviewee gather information and form impressions. Certainly there are questions that you will need to ask in order to clarify your understanding of the university. Always have questions to ask!! A lack of questions infers that you are not interested enough or alert enough to be inquisitive. Do not ask a question concerning things that you could have learned had you done your homework. Do not ask about tuition in the initial interview. If you are not invited to ask questions, politely ask if you may.
    Closing: It is during these final few minutes that any final questions or loose ends are addressed. Depart with a “thank you” and firm handshake. 
  • Good essays possess a deliberate and pre-ordained plan of progress. Activity: In groups of 2-4 students, read an example essay and decide how the body paragraphs are organized.
  • If you are asked about a weakness, challenge or failure, spend 20% of the answer describing the negative element and 80% of your answer talking about what you have done or are currently doing to overcome this. Be as unique and specific as possible.
  • Good essays possess a deliberate and pre-ordained plan of progress. Activity: In groups of 2-4 students, read an example essay and decide how the body paragraphs are organized.
  • Personal Characteristics / Skills / Strengths:
    Tell me about yourself
    What is your strongest personal asset?
    What are your strengths and weaknesses as a student?
    Name 3 strengths that you have and why you consider these strengths.
    What would one of your friends/teachers/supervisors say about you?
    What would a supervisor or professor tell me are your strengths?
    Academic Experiences/Performance:
    Why did you major in _________?
    Why did you choose to attend ___________ College/University?
    When did you choose to enter this occupational field and why?
    How did you make the decision to apply to our program? What other programs did you consider?
    How has your undergraduate background prepared you for our program?
    What courses have you enjoyed the most?
    What courses have been most difficult for you?
    What satisfaction have you gained from your studies?
    Tell me about the research project you completed with Professor _________?
    Do you feel your academic record accurately reflects your abilities and potential?
    Do you feel you have worked to your full potential?
    How would you rate yourself in the following areas? 1. Reading and Comprehension 2. Analytical Skills 3. Communication – oral and written, listening
    What didn’t you like about your college/university?
    Tell me about a professor or supervisor that you didn’t like and why.
    Why would you be an asset to our department? How would you be able to contribute to our program?
    What skills and experiences do you feel have prepared you for admission to this program?
    Why should we consider you for our program instead of several other equally qualified candidates?
    How many programs have you applied to besides our institution/program?
    What will you do if you are not accepted into our program?
    Extracurricular Activities:
    What extracurricular activity has been most satisfying to you?
    What is the most significant contribution you have made to your school?
    What activities do you enjoy most outside of the classroom?
    Do you have any hobbies or outside interests?
    Tell me about any volunteer experiences in which you have participated.
    What challenges do you think you might face in the graduate program?
    What would you say is an area in which you need improvement?
    What would you change about yourself and why?
    What skills or abilities do you hope to strengthen through our program?
    What has motivated you to pursue this academic field?
    What are your short-term and long-term goals?
    Why do you want a graduate degree in ___________?
    How do you see this program fitting into your career goals?
    Tell me about a goal you have set for yourself and how you have achieved it or intend to achieve it.
    Leadership/Teamwork/Problem Solving Skills, etc.:
    Tell me about a major accomplishment and how you achieved it.
    Tell me about a situation in which you showed initiative.
    Tell me about a group in which you were involved. How did you contribute to make this group achieve a goal?
    Tell me about a time you assumed a leadership role.
    Tell me about a recent significant problem you faced and how you handled it.
    Tell me how you handle stress.
    Tell me about a time you had a number of assignments due. How did you make sure you completed all of them on time and did a good job?
    Tell me about a time when you were confronted by a fellow student, co-worker or a customer. How did you handle it to resolve the conflict?
    Tell me about a time you were faced with a difficult situation and how you handled it.
    Tell me about a mistake you made and how you handled it.
    Define teamwork (or success… quality… fairness)
    What was the last book you read or movie you saw?
    How will you make the world a better place?
    If you could have dinner with someone (living or dead), who would that person be?
    Field Specific Questions & Current Events: You will undoubtedly encounter questions that related specifically to your chosen field of study. Be certain that you are aware of current trends, issues and controversy in your field so that you will be able to answer questions intelligibly. Below are a few examples:
    What do you believe to be the major trends in your intended career field at this time?
    What do you think about _____________ (current event)?
    What problem in the world troubles you most? What would you do about it?
    What is the most important development in this field over the past 25 years, and why?
    Questions Applicants Might Ask an Interviewer: Asking questions not only helps you as a candidate determine the “fit” of the program with your desired academic and career objectives, but it also communicates to the selection committee the extent of your interest in their program: 
    What characteristics distinguish this program from others in the same academic field?
    How long does it take typically to complete the program?
    Where are recent alumni employed? What do most graduates do after graduation?
    What types of financial aid are offered? What criteria are used for choosing recipients?
    What opportunities are available through the program to gain practical work experience? Are there opportunities such as assistantships, fellowships or internships available? What are the deadlines to apply for these opportunities?
    Are there any scholarships or fellowships available? How do I apply?
    Do most students publish an article/conduct research prior to graduation?
    I've read articles written by ________ and __ --____. To what extent are students involved in assisting these faculty members with related research projects?
    What types of research projects are current students pursuing?
    How are graduate test scores, grades, letters of recommendations, and personal statements evaluated for the admissions process?
    What is the selection timeline? When will candidates be notified about their acceptance into the program?
  • Good essays possess a deliberate and pre-ordained plan of progress. Activity: In groups of 2-4 students, read an example essay and decide how the body paragraphs are organized.
  • Good essays possess a deliberate and pre-ordained plan of progress. Activity: In groups of 2-4 students, read an example essay and decide how the body paragraphs are organized.
  • Good essays possess a deliberate and pre-ordained plan of progress. Activity: In groups of 2-4 students, read an example essay and decide how the body paragraphs are organized.
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